I’ve been shot at two times since I began working at the paper nearly 28 years ago and fortunately, for me at least, both missed. You never heard about these incidents before because, well, they missed.
I use the words “shot at” somewhat loosely since, as far as I know, I was not the primary target of the shooters. Instead, I was simply downrange when they decided to open fire. That’s the thing about bullets, they really don’t care if they were intended for someone. They just follow the laws of physics and if someone is in their path, well, you know.
But, I can own the “being shot at” moniker since I heard the buzz of the bullet flying through the air both times.
The first one happened while I was still young and dumb, during my first couple of years as a reporter here at the paper. I responded to a barricaded woman here in town and began snapping pictures from behind a patrol car. However, being eager and wanting to get a better shot, I decided to reposition only to find myself right in front of the front door. It was right about that time the woman decided to begin blasting indiscriminately from inside her house.
It sounded like firecrackers going off but the buzzing in the air was enough to make this green rookie hit the dirt. She was shooting!
They were able to talk the woman out a short time later. No one was hurt and as far as I can recall, she was taken for mental treatment.
Flash forward about 15 years. By this time I was a grizzled veteran reporter who should have known better than to let my guard down while outside a house where someone was barricaded. However, much like that rookie a decade before, I decided to reposition. The deputies had been outside the house for an hour and figured the man may have killed himself. Wrong. He was very much alive and had a gun.
I found a low place on the ground as I heard that buzzing in the air again, Unlike the first time, where I was able to take some cover, I found myself pinned down in a field, pressing my body to a the bottom of a slight depression like I was in a fox hole. I made myself flat as a pancake, not wanting to give the shooter a target. However, while pinned in the field, for some reason, I decided to take advantage of my cellphone and call the paper.
“Guess where I am?” I asked Seth Wright as another volley sounded.
“What’s that noise?” he asked.
“Gunfire,” I responded. “I’m pinned down in a field and some guy is shooting.”
“You’re what?” he replied
About that time a couple of SWAT team members, armed to the teeth, crawled in front of me.
“Stay down,” one of them mouthed.
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that,” I said, returning to my phone call.
Thankfully, I again emerged with no bullet holes and hopefully a lesson never to leave my cover again.
Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.